Timeshare, which is also called shared vacation ownership is a product purchased by a consumer which gives him/her the exclusive use of accommodation in property for a determined or determinable recurrent period of time (time modules) annually.
Timeshare units are priced according to the size of the unit, the amenities provided by the resort, the location of the resort and the season in which the week is sold. For example, in-season weeks will cost more than out of season weeks.
It is important to know that timeshare products come with the responsibility of paying an annual levy, which is paid to the Management Association – a non-profit body made up of all the owners of the resort. These annual levies also pay for on-site management, furnishing replacements, amenities and the general upkeep of common areas as well as amenities like swimming pools and tennis courts.
Timeshare purchases are typically financed by either a loan from the developer or credit card finance. Terms depend upon the amount of the purchaser’s deposit and the cost of the particular transaction.
Range of products
Timeshare or shared vacation ownership comes in a wide range of products which are designed to suit many lifestyles.
The traditional module week program offers owners the use of a unit at their resort for one week, either for a specific period or season. With a points-based program, you may purchase points that can be redeemed for all kinds of accommodations, resort locations, amenities and period of time. Many resort developers link their points program with other vacation or travel loyalty programs, allowing you to maximize your purchasing power and holiday choices.
Fractional Ownership is another type of shared vacation ownership it is real estate which is sold in modules of more than one week, but less than whole ownership. This product is usually associated with a luxury vacation lifestyle.
Destination Clubs are shared vacation clubs that offer their affluent clientele the use of an array of executive vacation properties at exclusive resorts and leading hotels.
And lastly, Private Residence Clubs offer an extravagant collection of five-star accommodation situated in opulent resort hotspots and are maintained by five-star hospitality giants. These larger properties offer unrivalled levels of service and a host of high-end amenities. Access isn’t limited to a couple weeks, and the level of comfort and pampering that comes with these properties is limited only by the imagination. Membership into these clubs can vary from fractional ownership, whole ownership and points. The cost can reach the 6 figure range.
Vacation ownership exchange
There is a popular misconception that once you purchase a timeshare week or points you are bound to the same resort year in and year out. This is simply not true. These products are usually always affiliated to an exchange company, which gives you the flexibility of spending your vacation in different locations.
How does it work? You trade your module, week or points for a new and different holiday experience at comparable resorts across the country and around the world. Many resorts offer owners the opportunity to exchange their unit to another resort within their own portfolio of properties. Most resorts are also affiliated with an independent exchange company that processes exchanges to other resorts on behalf of members.
To exchange, the owner places his or her module, week or points into the exchange company’s pool of available resort weeks and chooses an available resort and week from the pool. The exchange companies do charge an exchange fee and some may also charge an annual membership fee.
Most resorts and exchange companies offer their members the added benefit of saving (called “space banking”) holiday time for use in a subsequent year.